Healthy Pantries in West Orange of Second Harvest Food Bank, Heaven Sent
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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From time to time, here in Windermere Sun, we’d like to share with the community some remarkably wonderful programs or services that deserve much greater recognition. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is such a program/ service. It is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia. Last year, with the help of donors, volunteers and a caring community, the food bank distributed 50 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes.
In addition to helping to feed the line of our neighbors who need help, Second Harvest also transforms dozens of lives directly every year. Adults who graduate from Second Harvest Food Bank’s 14-week culinary training program are placed in ‘better than minimum wage’ jobs that set them and their families on a path to self-sustainability. Another important activity helps to connect people who are eligible to receive SNAP food assistance benefits with the resources they need to access the program and get help.
Second Harvest Food Bank is also a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that helps feed people across the country. Click here to learn more about Feeding America and this network of food banks.
Mission: To create hope and nourish lives through a powerful hunger relief network, while multiplying the generosity of a caring community. Vision: Inspiring and engaging our community to end hunger.
Among many of its meaningful programs, a new three-year pilot program was launched last month by Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, in conjunction with the West Orange Health District, to provide healthy food for low-income people struggling with diet-related diseases. Patients who are referred by their healthcare providers in communities such as Ocoee, Dr. Phillips, Windermere, Winter Garden, and Oakland, will receive free, three month vouchers for fresh, nutritious food to supplement their diet and help them to manage their diet-related diseases such as diabetes. Furthermore, biometric screenings, personal counseling, community education and other support services will also be available.
“The idea is to proactively nudge people toward eating healthily,” said Dave Krepcho, Second Harvest’s president and CEO. “As our nation struggles to keep up with the unrelenting epidemic of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease, there’s a growing awareness that hunger as a social determinant of disease can be managed outside the walls of the clinic or hospital.”
“The district is pleased to support this healthy food initiative,” said Tracy Swanson, executive director for the West Orange Healthcare District. “In many instances, nutritious food is as important as medicine in maintaining, preventing and treating disease.”
According to a report by Hunger in America, nearly 23% of food bank clients in Orange County suffer from diabetes, and nearly 54% have high blood pressure. Only 2 out of 5 have health insurance, and 26% have to make the monthly decision between seeking healthcare and buying food. A study by Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group found that, in 2014, the most at-risk areas of Apopka, Oakland, Ocoee and Winter Garden saw 530 people die from diet-related diseases.
I can’t imagine any healthy community doing without an organization such as Second Harvest Food Bank. But the health of its existence depends much on conscientious volunteers and supporters from the community. So, if you are interested in helping this organization in whichever shape or form, please feel free to get in touch with them, below:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. Second Harvest secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. The community turns to Second Harvest’s partner agencies more than 71,000 times per week. To learn more about Second Harvest, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.
The West Orange Health District is an independent special healthcare district created by an Act of the 1949 Florida Legislature and is governed by a 16 member Board appointed by the Governor of Florida. From its beginning, the mission of the District has been to enhance health and wellness in the West Orange Healthcare District. For more information about the West Orange Healthcare District please visit http://www.wohd1949.org.
~Let’s Help One Another~
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